Lock Me Up or Let Me Go: The Protests, Arrest, and Trial of an Environmental Activist


221 pages
Contains Photos
ISBN 1-55192-465-X
DDC 363.7'0092





Reviewed by Joan A. Lovisek

Joan Lovisek, Ph.D., is a consulting anthropologist and ethnohistorian
in British Columbia.


Betty Krawczyk is a self-proclaimed tree hugger, publicity seeker,
ecological warrior, and “elder,” who attracts publicity in British
Columbia for being a senior citizen environmental activist, appearing in
the news as the “jailed granny.” Lock Me Up or Let Me Go is an
account of her incarceration for protesting logging in the Elaho Valley
of British Columbia.

This is not a book about being wrongfully jailed for environmental
activism. Krawczyk wanted to be arrested so that she could have her day
in court to make public what she calls the “trashing” of British
Columbia’s forests. Instead, she bemoans the fact that she was
arrested for contempt of court arising from violating a restraining

The book is written as two independent stories. The primary story
describes Krawczyk’s incarceration, which includes interesting if
often derogatory accounts of fellow inmates, prison staff, and the court
(primarily judges). Her views speak volumes about her politics and
philosophy: incarceration is a “crime against nature and the human
spirit,” and murderers “belong in positions in the community where
they can exercise the soul-cleansing practice of restitution.”

The secondary story is that of Krawczyk’s relationship with her
mother and other relatives, and her childhood in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
This is well written and not without engaging characters and places. The
connection between the two stories appears to be a disjointed attempt at
explaining her activism.

If potential readers expect this book to inform them about important
environmental issues or the work of committed environmental activists,
they are likely to be disappointed.


Krawczyk, Betty., “Lock Me Up or Let Me Go: The Protests, Arrest, and Trial of an Environmental Activist,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 28, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/10009.